San Antonio Spurs: Jakob Poeltl speaks about early season struggles
By Andrew Ites
San Antonio Spurs center Jakob Poeltl is off to a rough start with his new team and he spoke about those struggles after Sunday’s loss to Orlando.
Kawhi Leonard and DeMar DeRozan were obviously the headlining pieces of the San Antonio Spurs’ blockbuster trade with Toronto, and both have performed well so far this season.
Danny Green has also gotten off to a good start with his new team, but Jakob Poeltl is not enjoying similar success in his new home.
The 23-year-old center, who showed plenty of promise with the Raptors began the season as the starting center in San Antonio, has often looked lost on the court which has caused him to fall out of the rotation.
After not playing a single second in three out of four games and only getting garbage time minutes against the Suns and Pelicans, Poeltl finally got some meaningful playing time against the Magic.
He played over 14 minutes in San Antonio’s home loss to Orlando scoring 2 points with 5 rebounds, a block and an assist, but he was a -5 in a seven-point loss.
The Athletic’s Jabari Young recorded Poeltl’s comments after the game:
“I got to figure out a way to get out of my own head,” said Poeltl. “Don’t worry too much about figuring out how I fit on this team. Just go out there and play more and the rest will figure out itself.”
“I haven’t found my place yet,” Poeltl continued. “It is hard to play when you don’t have that chemistry develop [sic] yet.”
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Gregg Popovich and Poeltl have now both been quoted saying the young center’s problems are mostly in his head.
It appears that he’s having a rough time adjusting to a new scheme in his third NBA season, and the mental aspect of the game is preventing him from showcasing some of his athletic gifts.
San Antonio already picked up the fourth-year option on Poeltl’s rookie deal before he ever played a minute in a Spurs uniform, so it’s clear that they are invested in him and believe he can succeed in the future. But it’s just not clicking for him right now.
Poeltl will see increased playing time again on Wednesday night against the Heat as Pau Gasol will be sidelined with some foot soreness.
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Hopefully Poeltl will improve with more repetitions in the Spurs’ system and be able to play without thinking too much about the scheme and his fit on this team.